Court denies Maina bail over alleged N2bn pension fraud

•Declares him proven flight risk

The Federal High Court, Abuja on Thursday dismissed the bail application brought before it by the former chairman of the defunct Presidential Pension Reform Taskforce Team, Abulrasheed Maina for lacking in merit.

Maina, who is being prosecuted by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) is standing trial for alleged fraud and money laundering to a tune of N2 billion.

While ruling on the bail application, Justice Abang held that Maina who fled the country after he was granted the first bail could no longer be trusted for bail relief.

The Judge described Maina, who was rearrested in Niger Republic and extradited to Nigeria by the International Police as a flight risk adding that he would not take the second risk of granting him another bail.

Maina’s counsel, Sani Katu (SAN) had last Friday argued the application for his client’s bail and prayed the court to grant him the second bail on the grounds of ill-health.

But, the prosecution counsel, Mohammed Abubakar, objected on the ground that the defendant could not be trusted with a second bail, having jumped the first one.

In his ruling, Justice Abang recalled how he took a risk in granting Maina his first bail but he fled the country.m, adding that, “The law is settled that it is at the discretion of the court to grant bail to a defendant whether he has jumped bail or not.

“It depends on the facts and the circumstances of each case. Maina is not only a potential flight risk but a proven flight risk and the court is not inclined to take the risk the second time. As for the medical report tendered, the first defendant is not in any health emergency.

“The defendant cannot flout an order of the court and expect to be granted bail. I think the Federal Government of Nigeria is capable of attending to the medical needs of the first defendant’s purported ailment”, the judge held and consequently dismissed the bail application for lacking in merit.

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